Picture the sights and sounds of a bustling big city in the northeast, like New York, Boston or Philadelphia. Imagine a tranquil starlit night on the prairie in Montana.
What do you think sounds more enticing to millennials today? Where else might they be going?
The fact of the matter is that there's no one definitive trend we can point to, but there are a variety of overlapping patterns that we can observe.
If you're trying to get your finger on the pulse, or if you're a millennial looking for some inspiration, read on.
Regions and metros
A SmartAsset analysis of Census Bureau data can help us figure out where millennials are moving. SmartAsset ranked cities and states based on how many millennials moved there in 2017, as compared to the number who left the location in the same year.
It's possible that some cities and states serve as magnets for millennials, and attract huge numbers, but if they're losing as many people as they're bringing in, then they won't make this list. Austin, Texas falls into the bucket. It ranked at 21 for drawing in 40,711 millennial residents, almost as many as Dallas, which ranked first. However, it lost 38,455 millennials, making for relatively modest net gains.
It's clear from these findings that the West and the South are turning out to be big draws for this demographic. The only state not in those regions to crack the top 10 was New Hampshire, and all of the top 10 cities are found outside the Midwest and the Northeast.
SmartAsset's top 10 cities for millennial migration:
- Portland, Oregon.
- Columbia, South Carolina.
- Norfolk, Virginia.
- Charlotte, North Carolina.
- Colorado Springs, Colorado.
- San Diego.
- Clarksville, Tennessee.
- Henderson, Nevada.
It's also notable that, while Dallas, Seattle and Portland are the kinds of rising big cities one might expect to see atop this list, the rankings are rounded out by lesser-known entities like Clarksville and Las Vegas neighbor Henderson.
The urban-rural divide
That last fact points to an interesting consideration, too. Are millennials still part of the downtown crowd, or are they moving to the suburbs?
The answer is muddled, and there doesn't seem to be a clear consensus at the moment.
A recent article in the Wall Street Journal claimed that the suburban millennial contingent is on the rise as this group ages and settles down. At the same time, the notion persists that millennials, as a generational cohort, seem more likely to plant themselves, and their growing families, in urban neighborhoods.
It's likely that some millennials who moved to cities in their younger years will remain there longer than previous generations. Other members of their cohort, seeking lower home prices, are charting a different course as they move out to the suburbs.
Still another trend is shaking things up.
The rise of remote work for professionals in our modern knowledge-based economy opens up new doors as millennials seek to decide where they'll ultimately find themselves, or indeed if they'll ever stop moving. They no longer have to simply balance their commute with the kind of housing they can afford.
They can opt to put down roots in new locations that hold personal or sentimental value for them off the beaten path. Urban and suburban comforts might take a backseat to other lifestyle factors, opening up new opportunities for millennials to settle in the country, remote coastal towns or small cities they find personally invigorating. Many can opt for a minimalist lifestyle on the road, if they so choose.
Are you plotting a long-haul move to a new locale? Check out our long-distance services to see if we can assist you.